Rush urges Bureau of Prisons to release elderly, nonviolent prisoners to mitigate coronavirus risk


by Jeremy Edwards

Washington – Today, U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Illinois, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, calling on Director Michael Carvajal to release elderly, nonviolent prisoners in an attempt to mitigate any risk of infection to the prison population.

“The close quarters present in our nation’s jails and prisons present a clear and ongoing risk of infection in general and with the coronavirus in particular,” said Rep. Rush. “This, coupled with the fact that prisoners across the country – including in my home state of Illinois –  have tested positive for this virus, underscores the need for action.

On Dec. 4, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Fred Hampton, Rep. Bobby Rush tweeted this photo, saying: “50 years ago today, my friend & fellow founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, was assassinated by the Chicago Police Department while sleeping in his West Side apartment.” He added, quoting Hampton, “However, you can kill a revolutionary, but you cannot kill a revolution.”

“The elderly population, at large, is especially vulnerable to this disease and this is even more true when faced with the close confines of a prison environment. Based on remarks made by the president earlier this week, it appears that he too is open to releasing elderly, nonviolent prisoners. As such, I would encourage BOP to take this matter seriously and move swiftly on this issue.”

A full copy of Rep. Rush’s letter follows.

Jeremy Edwards, formerly a spokesperson for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, is communications director for Rep. Bobby Rush. He can be reached at